New Appointment, New Possibilities

Hello! My name is Daniel and I am excited to serve the congregation of Grace UMC as the new Associate Pastor beginning on July 1.

I am arriving from nearby Hinsdale UMC where I served as the Associate Pastor of Family and Youth Ministries, providing opportunities for families to worship, learn, and grow in faith together.  With the help of dedicated adult volunteers, we initiated small groups to help parents address contemporary challenges such as social media and a weekly youth program with additional service trips and fellowship activities to encourage youth participation and leadership in the church.  I developed a new confirmation program as the church transitioned from a lengthy 2-year curriculum to a more condensed 5-month approach.  I love being part of this formative time in the lives of youth and I look forward to working with Gaye Lynn Loufek to continue the meaningful and enriching confirmation experience already offered at Grace.

In addition to assisting with the confirmation program at Grace, I look forward to being an active part of weekly worship and preaching on rotation with Pastors Cindy and Mark.  I love traditional liturgies and ritual but also strive to find new meaningful ways for us to worship 
together.  I particularly enjoy the preaching process, which for me begins with prayer and discernment, continues with an in-depth study of scripture and 
contemporary concerns, and concludes with careful composition. My sermons often draw upon my passion for early Christian and Roman history in order to better contextualize, understand, and then apply our scriptures for our lives today.

I enjoy sharing this passion for history through Bible studies, small groups, and presentations, and so I look forward to being an active contributor to the educational offerings at Grace.  I love to use the visual arts (ancient and modern) to explore the Bible, church history, and theology.  I firmly believe that a better understanding of our beautiful tradition helps us discern who God is calling us to be and where God is calling us to go today.

A bit more about me: I was born in California but raised in Rhode Island.  I was a four-sport athlete and Eagle Scout in high school, earned a B.A. from the University of Rochester, my M.Div. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in ancient history from UW-Madison.  I am an avid fly fisherman, a reader of novels and poetry, runner, and downhill skier.

My wife, Lauren, and I met at Harvard. Originally from Ohio and a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Lauren is an ordained Presbyterian minister currently serving a congregation in Clarendon Hills. She is a talented singer and loves to travel.  

We have two beautiful children, Avanelle (7) and Chesley (2), both named after beloved relatives.  Avy enjoys ballet, soccer, and being “big sister” to her brother Cy, whom she calls her “sweet potato.”  Cy loves cars, trucks, airplanes, and saying “hello!” to everyone he meets.

I look forward to getting to know you and growing with you in our ministry together.